Assassins Provides Semblance of Normalcy, Excitement

Despite administrative apprehension about safety, Assassins continues


Blake Senior game masters run the @blakeseniorassassins Instagram account that updates game participants.

Carly Shoemate, Contributing Writer

Assassins is a springtime tradition at Blake and a number of other schools in Minnesota and across the country. The Nerf-war type game consists of a number of teams, generally ranging from three to five members, who play until the last person or team standing wins a cash prize. This year’s pot sits at a hefty $600, with an $80 cut given to the game masters. The prize is financed by each player’s $10 pay-in to play. This year’s game includes 15 teams made up of 68 seniors.

Players can be “killed” via a Nerf gun shot or a “stabbing” with a spoon. Players can not be killed on Blake property, inside of a running car, inside of their house (unless their assassin is invited inside), or in a COVID-19 vaccine center. Another new rule this year includes a mask requirement if the kill takes place within six feet.   

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Juniors and seniors… don’t really know each other that well because of green and blue groups”

The standard Assassins time consists of kill assignments to each player of someone from another team. Each team must kill one of their targets within the week in order to continue playing. The “purge” is essentially a free-for-all where targets are irrelevant and anyone can kill whoever they want, and ranges from a few hours to a couple of days.

Assassins is strongly discouraged by Blake’s administration, and a recent email sent to parents detailed the game and warned of the possible risks that ensue. The email asks for parents’ help in discouraging participation this year, and explains that “the game encourages behavior that is aggressive, risky, and dangerous and can have damaging results.”

Class of 2021 Dean, CJ Jones Eckhardt, says, “I don’t know much about the game at all. What I do know is it seems to be proven to be unsafe most of the time and really difficult to make good decisions. So I just recommend not doing it and finding creative ways to have fun outside of that game.”

Communication for the game has come from a public Twitter account in past years, but, this year, has been kept private on the Instagram @blakeseniorsassassins, only followed by people who are participating in the game. Teams range in seriousness, but, as one anonymous player puts it, “everyone kinda wants that money.” While some teams have set strategies, others are convinced “the kills will come to [them] because a lot of people are eager.” One senior states, “You know this game is really about throwing people off their rhythm. So that’s my strategy.”

Most years, assassins is played with all willing participants from the junior and senior class, but this year it is only seniors. Questions about this choice were met with an awkward confession of a two-vote miss at a unanimous poll in the senior class group chat voting against junior inclusion, and a reference to the “different class energies” of the seniors and juniors and that “this year juniors and seniors… don’t really know each other that well because of green and blue groups.”

Also, an assassins players remarks, “It’s a little bit like a self-oriented interest way… that juniors will be here next year and they can participate and handle this if they want to but this is something that seniors won’t be able to do next year.”

Another reason the smaller pool of players is proving to be beneficial this year is for complying with COVID-19 safety protocols.

Ultimately, the assassins game offers a glimmer of hope and normalcy for the Class of 2021, “This senior year has been really lacking in the substance that it usually has, and assassins is one of the things that’s a senior tradition and this year we get to participate in it and so that’s the reason I chose to just to kind of get myself in that senior spirit.”